He spoke about his own experience receiving free school meals.
One Direction star Zayn Malik has called on the British PM Rishi Sunak to step up the mark and provide free meals for all children leaving in poverty.
In a letter to the PM, Zayn recalled his own experience receiving free meals, and spoke about how hunger can impact all areas of a child’s life. The letter also pointed to the four million children living in households experiencing poverty, as well as the 800,000 children who are missing out on a free school lunch despite living in poverty.
The letter read: “I am writing to share my concern about the struggles children are living with because of the cost-of-living crisis and to ask for your help to ensure no child living in poverty misses out on a hot nutritious meal at school especially since that school meal may be the only hot meal they receive all day.”
After citing the aforementioned figures, Zayn goes on: “These children are suffering from lack of concentration, some even resorting to stealing food from school canteens because they are so hungry but can’t afford to buy lunch.
“They are also feeling shame which is directly impacting their physical and mental health. I know what that shame feels like, I have seen it first-hand, as growing up in Bradford, I relied on free school meals.”
He then called on the UK Government to extend the current threshold, and give Free School Meals to children from families on Universal Credit.
“This would stop children from enduring the worst of the cost-of-living crisis which in turn only creates bigger divides between the richest and the poorest,” he wrote. “Free School Meals are such a big help for the poorest children in our society and they guarantee a reliably hot, nutritious lunch every day at school, so children can thrive rather than worrying about where the next meal comes from.”
He added: “No parent should have to make impossible decisions like whether to buy food, turn on the heating, or go into debt.”